This morning the news came from the New York Times (yes, I know, and yes, I have opinions about that whole story) that one of the most influential music programs of all time (well at least of my youth) is coming back. 120 Minutes will be returning to mtv this fall with an online companion series 120 Seconds on the mtvhive.com website. Matt Pinfield will be returning as host.
As a proud child of the 90s, I am beside myself in happiness! I remember many a night studying while watching the two golden ages of the show (the first being 1989-1992 with Dave Kendall, the second 1995-1999 with Pinfield) and I can easily say that the show influenced many of my peers in their musical tastes. Not only did the show help legitimize the alternative movement but it also brought the Brit Rock renaissance, shoegaze, and all the ground-breaking movements of the 90s into homes all over the US. If you look at the big bands that are making waves at South by Southwest this year, you can trace their musical DNA to bands that have been featured on 120 Minutes.
This also points to something I’ve heard coming from people out in Austin; this might be signaling the change that mtv might be adding more music back to the schedule. Which makes sense to me: mtv has long been criticized for abandoning it’s original mission of being Music television, and maybe this is where the trend starts to reverse itself.
There also comes the question: is the show relevant now in this age of post-post indie rock? Pinfield seems to think so. To quote Mr. Pinfield in the Times: “Things have changed drastically,” he said, “but there’s still more great bands and more new music and more people consuming and enjoying music than ever.” While he’s right on that score, there are so many outlets to finding music and music scenes becoming more localized than ever before, it will be interesting to see if 120 Minutes can be as influential as it was before.
Bonus: So what’s with the header picture for this post? Well, it’s a still from the last video played on 120 Minutes. In fact, I found an archive with the playlist from the last show (with all the videos picked by Kendall and Pinfield).